Former first lady passes away
Former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away April 17 at the age of 92 after battling a variety of health problems. Bush had been in the hospital with heart and respiratory failure before deciding to receive comfort care at home and died soon after. Bush was known as the only second first lady to have both a husband and son elected President, with husband George H. W. Bush serving from 1989-1993 and son George W. Bush serving from 2001-2009. During her time as first lady, Barbara Bush was known for advocating literacy and raised more than $1 billion for literacy and cancer charities throughout her life. She and her husband were married for 73 years and raised six children. During her funeral, Barbara Bush was remembered as “the first lady of the greatest generation.”
Controversy brews for Starbucks
Protests across the country have called for Starbucks to review its policies after an incident last week resulted in two black men being arrested. Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson, both 23, were in a Philadelphia Starbucks while they waited for someone. Nelson asked to use the restroom but was denied because it was only for paying customers, according to the store manager. After refusing to purchase a drink, the two were told to leave. When they failed to comply, police were called and the two were arrested. Since then, a video of the incident went viral and Starbucks came under extreme scrutiny for its allegedly racially-biased practices. Starbucks announced that it would be closing all its stores in the United States on April 29 in order to give its 175,000 employees anti-bias training.
Gunman kills 4 at Nashville Waffle House
Four people were killed at a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee, early Sunday morning by a nearly nude gunman. Police identified the suspected shooter as Travis Reinking, 29, and said he killed two people in the restaurant’s parking lot before walking into the restaurant and killing two more inside. One person in the restaurant eventually confronted the gunman and wrestled the gun away from him. The gunman then fled and is still at large, according to police. Nashville Police Chief Steve Andersen said that his officers are going door-to-door to find the suspect and will not stop until he is apprehended.
Nicaragua faces national crisis
Following President Daniel Ortega’s decision to cancel changes to Nicaragua’s social security system last week, the country has fallen into a state of deadly protests and looting. The changes were aimed at reducing benefits and increasing taxes, and Ortega’s decision sparked clashes with police that led to looting. According to ABC News, the demonstrations seem to have expanded to include other complaints against the government. People of all ages spilled into city streets across the country to protest, and broadcasts from local media outlets showed lootings and a state of general chaos taking place. Pope Francis said he was “very worried” about the state of the country and called for an end to violence. Ortega said that he is willing to discuss revisions to the policy, but only with business leaders, which has stirred more fury in the protesters.
Kim, North Korea begin new phase in international relations
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s announcement regarding ceasing his country’s nuclear weapon tests has been met with mixed reactions from other international leaders. Kim’s announcement, made Saturday, said that North Korea no longer needed to test its nuclear weapons because of their “proven condition.” The announcement seemed to signify an expected reversal in policy for Kim, who has repeatedly made it apparent that his country’s policy would be a relentless pursuit of nuclear power. Kim’s policy change comes after South Korea confirmed that it was in talks with North Korea and the United States about officially ending the Korean War, which many take as a sign of an evolving foreign policy, amidst other policy reversals. However, many see the proposed changes as insignificant, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned caution, saying he would “keep a close eye on it.”
Cuba enters post-Castro era
After more than 50 years of a Castro regime, Cuba entered a new era when Raul Castro, brother to Fidel, stepped down from his post. Raul Castro was in power for 12 years after his brother handed power over to him and chose Miguel Diaz-Canel Bernudez, 57, as his successor. Diaz-Canel, a Communist Party loyalist, remains committed to Cuba’s socialist heritage, saying in his inaugural address that there was “no room in Cuba for those who strive for the restoration of capitalism.” He added that the Cuban revolution “continues its course” under his command. This marks the first time since 1959 that a Castro was not in power. However, Raul Castro is still expected to maintain considerable political power within the circles of Cuba’s Communist Party, of which he remains the leader.